After serving 32 years as a city volunteer fire fighter, including over 21 years as a volunteer fire chief, Charlie Parker is now a full time paid administrator or fire chief for the City of Smithville.
By a vote of 5-0, Parker was officially hired Monday night by the aldermen for this position, created in this year's city budget. The city advertised but Parker was the only applicant for the job.
He was recently interviewed by Mayor Jimmy Poss, Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson, and Alderman and Police/Fire Commissioner Shawn Jacobs. "He (Parker) has dedicated his life to the fire department and I appreciate it," said Mayor Poss.
"I was lucky I got to put 21 years of experience of on the job training on my resume," said Chief Parker. "Its been my honor to serve the citizens of Smithville for that long," he added.
Parker will be paid a salary of $35,350 per year plus health, life, and dental insurance benefits, like all other city employees. Parker will be allowed flex time or comp time if he needs to take time off for working extra hours beyond a forty hour work week due to fire calls and training.
Parker said his duties will keep him busy but he won't always be at the fire hall. "I am trying to work out some kind of schedule where I will be here (fire hall) at certain times to meet with people and set appointments and things like that. I also have a lot of businesses and factories that I've got to see in town doing pre-plans and some other things that we're already working on. So there will be quite a bit of time when I'm not at the fire hall. Its going to be come and go for me. I'm also comfortable with using the comp time, because most of my time with the crew (firefighters) won't be until after five or six o'clock and sometimes we're here until nine or ten o'clock at night," said Chief Parker.
"This pre-planning he (Parker) is talking about is work that really hasn't been getting done," said Alderman Shawn Jacobs. "They've been trying to do it through their volunteers at our factories and places like that which have volatile chemicals, the airport and places like that. But realistically with a volunteer force, most of them work during the day and they can't get out there and do these pre-plans for our industries and businesses. So we're going to be a lot safer from a community standpoint, once Charlie gets out and is able to do that. This is one of many benefits we're going to get from having a full time fire chief," said Alderman Jacobs.
Meanwhile, the city is seeking a FEMA SAFER Grant, which if approved would fund the hiring of more full time city firefighers for up to two years, at no cost to the city.